U.S. Sen. Tim Scott made history as he was sworn in Tuesday as the first black U.S. senator elected from the South from either political party since Reconstruction.
This swearing-in was more moving for Scott. “It wasn’t the decision of our governor to appoint me. It was the decision of the electorate to place me there.” Scott said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters after the ceremony.
Scott has served in the Senate since January 2013, when he was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to replace Sen. Jim DeMint. DeMint had resigned his post to take a job with the Heritage Foundation. Scott will fill out the rest of DeMint’s term before having to run for reelection a second time in 2016.
Tuesday’s swearing-in was two different events: a ceremony with his family and members of South Carolina’s congressional delegation, and another on the Senate floor. Vice President Joe Biden conducted both ceremonies.
During the family session, Scott’s mother held the Bible on which he took the oath. Scott said she struggled to hold back her emotions.
“She said ‘I think I’m gonna cry,'” Scott said. “I said, ‘Not now, Mom,'” adding that he then asked her to hold on for another 10 minutes.
He also ruled out leaving the Senate early to run for governor in 2018, if he is re-elected , as some Republicans have been urging.
“I have no actual desire to run for governor. As far as I can see, 2018 is not in my sights whatsoever.” Scott said Tuesday during the conference call.